Humor Politics Pseudoscience Skepticism/critical thinking

A blast from the global warming past (on this blog, that is)

Over the summer, I got into a bit of an argument with a certain Libertarian comic named Tim Slagle who doesn’t seem to accept the scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming is happening or that it is a potentially grave problem. In a perilous bit of criticism, given that comedy often depends on saying stupid things, I deconstructed his comedy routine in which he threw all sorts of bad arguments and straw men as attacks on Al Gore. It was a routine with the old trope that “science has been wrong before,” with a truly unpleasant bit of scientist-bashing thrown in for good measure.

The blog argument petered out after a few exchanges, but I recently noticed that Tim can’t resist trying to continue to tweak me from time to time, attempts that I’ve basically ignored―until now. The reason that I stopped ignoring him is because Tim did something useful for my purposes: He posted a video clip of part of the comedy routine that I deconstructed.

As your humble servant, how could I pass by an opportunity to show you more or less what I saw (or at least part of it) and then let you judge for yourself whether I was too hard, too easy, or just right on Tim? One thing that interested me is that all the patient schooling about the science of global warming and other topics that you, my faithful readers, and I tried to administer to him apparently sank in not one little bit. Four months later, Tim’s still repeating the same anti-AGW canards about Al Gore, while adding a bit about his Nobel Prize. (In fact, if anything, Tim may well have gotten worse; I don’t remember him comparing Al Gore to Pat Robertson or likening AGW science to religion in the show that I saw in June. Either my memory is faulty, or that’s a new addition to the bit.)

In any case, check out this excerpt from Tim’s comedy routine and tell me whether you think my analysis was on target or not. (The clip is a little less than six and a half minutes long.) Hey, maybe I was wrong.

It could happen.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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